To change negative numbers to positive and leave positive numbers along (i.e. get absolute values) use the built-in ABS function. In the example shown the formula in C6 is:


Generic formula



The ABS function is fully automatic. All you need to do is supply a number and ABS will return the absolute value.

Convert negative numbers in place

If you only need to convert negative numbers once, you can convert in-place with Paste Special:

  1. Add -1 to a cell and copy to the clipboard
  2. Select the negative numbers you want to convert
  3. Use Paste Special > Values + Multiply

The video on this page shows this technique and many other paste special shortcuts.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.